On 1st June 1904, Oris was founded in the Swiss town of Hölstein and named after a nearby brook. One hundred and seventeen years later, Oris equips its classic Big Crown Pointer Date model with a new in-house developed automatic movement known as Calibre 403. Sharing the same beefy five-day power reserve, impressive resilience to magnetism and ten-year warranty as the groundbreaking 2020 Calibre 400 automatic series, this particular calibre adds a small seconds counter and pointer date function. Although at first glance it is clearly a Big Crown Pointer Date, there are plenty of modifications to distinguish it as an anniversary model. Limited to 250 pieces, the 38mm steel Big Crown tones down the vintage vibe associated with this family and resorts to a more contemporary monochromatic palette with a grey dial, a new set of Arabic numerals and a sleeker smaller and sharper case silhouette.
The Big Crown model started life as a pilot’s watch in 1938 and featured an oversized crown to help pilots adjust the time without having to take off their gloves. One of the most popular models is the Big Crown Pointer Date, which featured an original date complication (patented in 1915 by A. Hammerly) that used a central pointer hand instead of the familiar date window. Reintroduced into the brand’s collection in 1984, the Big Crown saved the company from extinction during the quartz era.
In 2018, the Big Crown Pointer Date celebrated its 80th anniversary with a special bronze edition with a green dial. Other recent editions include the Oxblood red dial model of 2019 and another bronze version, this time with a bronze dial. Family traits of the Big Crown Pointer Date include the oversized crown at 3 o’clock, large Arabic numerals, a central hand with a red tip to point to the date on the peripheral track and, over the years, the incorporation of a coin-edged bezel. However, they share something else: an outsourced Sellita SW 200-1 automatic movement modified for the date complication with a red bi-directional rotor.
The first thing fans of the Big Crown will notice is that the fluted bezel has gone. On the new Hölstein Edition 2021, the coin-edged bezel has been replaced with a flat polished bezel that is, in fact, closer in spirit to the pre-war models of 1938. Overall, the lines of the watch are tauter and sharper. The surface of the lugs has been brushed to contrast with the polished areas of the case, and even the vintage-style domed dial been ‘de-domed’ slightly to make it flatter and more contemporary. Measuring just 38mm in diameter, it is also the first Big Crown model of the 21st century with these dimensions.
Unlike the colourful dials of the Big Pilot models we are accustomed to, the dial of the Hölstein Edition 2021 is a subtle grey colour with newly developed numerals printed with Super-LumiNova. The idea behind the grey dial was to underscore the industrial production line Oris implemented in the first half of the 20th century. Even the cathedral-style hands of former models have been exchanged for simpler, slimmer sword hands, also filled with Super-LumiNova. The peripheral date ring with white numerals (1-31) relies on the central pointer hand, which now has a triangular-shaped red tip to match the only other colourful element on the dial: the small seconds hand.
The presence of the small seconds counter at 6 o’clock with its red hand and the white inscription – 5 DAYS – under the brand logo indicate the presence of a new movement below deck. In October 2020, Oris launched its Calibre 400, a powerful automatic movement with a five-day power reserve and an impressive 10-year warranty. Like the brand’s Calibre 110, this new movement is a proprietary manufacture movement meaning that it was developed entirely in-house by COO Beat Fischli and his team but produced by a network of suppliers with state-of-the-art industrial facilities. First seen on board the 43.5mm Aquis Date and then the AquisPro Date with its mighty 1000m water-resistance, Calibre 400 responds to Fischli’s directives to create a movement with an increased power reserve and, importantly, be resilient to magnetism.
Calibre 403 is an offshoot of the Calibre 400 series of automatics and shares the same base architecture as the 400 but features a small seconds sub-dial at 6 o’clock and the peripheral pointer date function. The proud recipient of this movement is the Hölstein Edition 2021. With accuracy well within COSC tolerances, the movement offers 120 hours of autonomy and comes with a 10-year warranty. The caseback is sealed (which is odd given that the model’s water-resistance is just 50m) and is engraved with the brand’s iconic Teddy Bear and the limited edition xxx/250 number. The watch comes with a matching grey leather strap and the brand’s quick strap change system.
Availability & Price
The Hölstein Edition 2021 is limited to 250 pieces and retails for CHF 3,600. It will be available in June 2021 at Oris boutiques, the Oris eShop and retailers with access to the Oris eShop.
More information and orders at www.oris.ch.